Curator and photographer TERRY TOEDTEMEIER, 1947-2008

Many of my readers will have known Terry Toedtemeier for years, as a photographer, a dedicated and passionate curator of photography at the Portland (OR) Museum of Art, and founder and long-time supporter of Blue Sky Gallery (known earlier as the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts). Others of you will have had the pleasure of learning from his wise portfolio review sessions at Photo Lucida and other events in the NW. Sad news this morning that Terry suffered heart failure and died on Wednesday evening after giving a presentation at his beloved Columbia River Gorge in conjunction with his masterful exhibition WILD BEAUTY: PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE, 1867-1957.

The Museum has posted this memorial:

“The Portland Art Museum notes with great sadness the passing of Terry Toedtemeier, curator of photography and curator of the Museum’s current exhibition, Wild Beauty.

For more than 20 years, Toedtemeier shared his passion for the art of photography with visitors to the Portland Art Museum. As the Museum’s first curator of photography, he assembled a collection of more than 5,000 images for the Museum which chronicles the history of photography; a selection of which is permanently on view in the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art, the largest dedicated exhibition space for photography in the region.

During his tenure, Toedtemeier curated and collaborated on the organization of numerous exhibitions that ranged in scope and subject matter from political and cultural themes to individual artist retrospectives and historical overviews.

Prior to joining the Museum, Toedtemeier was one of the founding artists of the Blue Sky Gallery in 1975 and served as its co-director. In 1980 he became an Associate Professor of Art and History at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, teaching photography and studio classes.

At the root of Terry’s informed passion and inquiry about photography was his long history as an accomplished photographer. His work is included in the collections of the National Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, among many others. Terry’s photography explores the spectacular geology of the Pacific Northwest, especially its unique basalt formations. With a degree in geology from Oregon State University and a lifelong sensitivity to natural beauty, it is not a surprise to observe the artist and scholar’s merging of aesthetics and science.

Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge, 1867 – 1957 (on view through January 11) and the publication Wild Beauty will be lasting legacies of Terry’s spirit and his unique vision as an artist and scholar.

Please share your memories of Terry Toedtemeier with us on our facebook page.”

Terry’s final exhibition continues on view at the Portland Art Museum through January 11th; I hope you will a consider seeing this show before it closes, and those who can’t attend, reading Terry’s essay in the exhibition catalogue.

From the Museum’s website:

“From rock formations to waterfalls, vast curves and bends to massive mountain views, the Columbia River Gorge’s beauty has been an inspiration to professional and amateur photographers alike for nearly 150 years. The images in Wild Beauty, a 90-year photographic survey of the Columbia River Gorge, comprise some of the most striking and poignant pictures taken of the area from 1867 to 1957.

The exhibition, consisting of more than 200 photographs, is a historical journey through unique geography, advancing technology, and abundant talent, chronicling the beauty and changing character of this dramatic passage of river.

Beginning with legendary landscape photographer Carleton Watkins and including work from several photographers drawn to the region when the railroad made the Gorge more accessible, Wild Beauty highlights the growing human impact on the Gorge through transportation advances, tourism, and dam construction.

A full-color illustrated publication will accompany the exhibition and be available for purchase in the Museum Shop. A map of the Columbia River Gorge, highlighting historic images from the exhibition and driving directions to 11 sites featured in Wild Beauty, will also be available for purchase in the Museum Shop. A free, print-from-home edition of the map is available here.

Organized by the Portland Art Museum and curated by Terry Toedtemeier, Curator of Photography.”

Today I’m adding a link within this post, sent by Christopher Rauschenberg – a wonderful slide show friend Craig Hickman has posted featuring a young Terry (apporox. 1965-1972) at

You can read a wonderful post about Terry’s creative life and his passing here from a friend who attended Terry’s talk on Wednesday evening, and another community post with heartfelt comments here.

If you can possibly get to Portland before January 11th and see the show, I know you will be glad you did!


1 Comment »

  1. […] achievements; it will be on view at the museum through January 11th.   I encourage you to read my entry from December 12th on Terry’s life, with links to his photography and exhibitions. […]

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: